Who’s on first today?…
Jonathan Bogart: Wow, garage bands are still hung up on every Sixties signifier there is, aren’t they? I mean don’t get me wrong, I like Beatles harmonies and Dave Davies guitar solos and Mo Tucker drums too, but I’ve heard this song a thousand times and I’m not sure why 2010 needed it.
Iain Mew: Tight and harmonic, but I’m having a hard time finding enough personality in there to appreciate the song beyond the level of “Ah, so that’s what a well executed garage rock take on The Beatles would sound like”.
Zach Lyon: Feels like half of a Revolver-era Beatles knockoff (parody?) and assuming I actually remember it’s playing, I can’t get through it. That’s saying something for two-and-a-half minutes.
Katherine St Asaph: Power-pop in the Letters to Cleo (and their ’60s predecessors’) vein — the verses are a dead ringer for “I See” off Aurora Gory Alice — and as loud and catchy as you’d ever ask for, albeit not much beyond.
Michaelangelo Matos: Somebody likes Shel Talmy! The attention to period detail is very sharp, and if it’s amusing, that’s only a side effect of songwriting, mixing, and miking, not to mention playing and singing, that’s so rigorously wrought and so seemingly tossed off.
Josh Langhoff: Pretty good Who imitation with a memorable chorus, big bass boom, and short running time. For such a rich and likable sound, I wish they were a little more inventive in the guitar solo and lyrics departments.
Martin Skidmore: I like the style, incredibly retro as it is, but this kind of thing thrives on strong songs, and this barely has one at all. They do play it pretty well, but I can go back and listen to some early Who album tracks rather than this.
Chuck Eddy: Always had hope for these guys, years before Jack White helped make them semi-famous. But even back in the garage-revival’s turn-of-the-millenium heyday, I thought the Cincinnati soul-rockers to beat were the Shams. A decade down the line, this jangly shamble, with its merely competent melody and no real charge to speak of, provides minimal evidence that I was missing much. Do enjoy those apparent early Who/Kinks guitar referents, though.
Frank Kogan: I once reviewed these guys, saying they sounded as if they’d been cast as The Garage Rock Band in a movie about the Sixties, and praising them for the accuracy of their Yardbirds rave-ups and “Smokestack Lightning” rips etc. “Saying Goodbye” is interesting for trying a Sixties combination that never actually occurred in the Sixties: pale paisley formalist beauty in the vocals, a feint at the Beatles that’s more like the Left Banke, with drum, bass, and guitar explosions out of the Who. Not sure the combination would have worked then, and don’t think it’s working here, though my problem isn’t the attempt or the style, just that you need beauty in your pale beauty, and I don’t think the Greenhornes have the tune or the singers to create it. They do get the Who-ness, impressively enough, even if those old explosions don’t explode anymore.
John Seroff: Retro rock done rather well; my only caveat would be that where it sounds meant to evoke Ray Davies, I’m getting “Last Train to Clarksville”. The funk may be somewhat faked here, but it’s still a damn good facsimile.
Alex Ostroff: The less famous dudes from The Raconteurs churn out a pleasant enough number. The vocal harmonies do their job, the drum fills are fun, and the guitar solos are showy, but “Saying Goodbye” is (admittedly well-done) Kinks nostalgia. While bandmate Brendan Benson frequently pulls off Beatles-esque numbers with aplomb, this never quite escapes its influences.